We've been live-streaming the Canon for Racial Reconciliation every evening this week. But what is a canon, anyway? If you are Orthodox, it is a term you hear not only for the rules for the way we run our churches as organizations, but also as a kind of prayer service. To learn more, we turned to an expert, Nicholas Reeves, who not only grew up in a priest's family that sang canons as part of their family spiritual practices, but has also lectured about Arvo Part's Kanon Pokojanen to non-Orthodox audiences.
This week, the Greek Archdiocese of America produced the miniseries “A Conversation on Racial Reconciliation,” which is part of their larger online resource center covering racism and the response of the Church. Consisting of six episodes, the miniseries includes interviews with priests, deacons, laity, and academics. Fr. John Chryssavgis asked me, along with Professor Aristotle Papanikolaou and Dr.
Every night this week, Axia Women will be praying the Canon for Racial Reconciliation. On Monday, the prayer will be lead by the person who wrote it thirteen years ago, our own Dr. Carla Thomas. We will be live-streaming on Facebook at facebook.com/axiawomen.
If you want to follow along, you can find the text on the Fellowship of St. Moses the Black website.
On the Feast of the Ascension (for some Orthodox Christians), several days after the horrific murder of George Floyd, members of Axia Women gathered digitally with Dr. Sr. Vassa Larin to share an Agape meal. Despite our geographical separation, we united to reflect on Christ’s ascension, thinking about themes of grief, absence, and community expressed in the Acts 1:1-14 account. At the time, this passage seemed to have special meaning in relationship to the Covid-19 pandemic, as social distancing fueled ontological anxieties about our rapidly changing world. For me, the themes have taken on even more relevance in light of the nation-wide protests that have developed as a result of Floyd’s murder.
I often hear priests whose sermons I admire say that they preach the sermon they need to hear. Other priests say their sermon was given to them by the Holy Spirit. This blog post is, in effect, the sermon I need to hear right now. I pray my words come from the Holy Spirit, especially as today we are celebrating Pentecost! (Some of our sisters and brothers in the Oriental Orthodox churches celebrated Pentecost last week; I pray these words will still be useful to them as well.)
Judith Scott writes: The time of Pentecost is a season of joy and celebration. But how to do this when the nation suffers from the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic and the protests surrounding police brutality and systems of malice and divisiveness?
It has been called the pandemic within the pandemic. The first pandemic is caused by a small strand of RNA, now called the "novel” Corona virus because it has never been seen before. Scientists and health workers don’t know how it really works, why it shows up in so many different ways, and why some get so sick for so long. And so many have died.